WARF: P130093US02

Long-Lasting, Non-Narcotic Protein for Treatment of Acute or Chronic Pain


Eric Johnson, Sabine Pellett, William Tepp, Tony Yaksh, Marc Marino, Qinghao Xu

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing a therapeutic molecule that provides stable, reversible regulation of spinal neurons that affect pain transmission and could be used to treat pain.
OVERVIEWMillions of people in the U.S. suffer from chronic pain each year. Narcotic-based medications commonly are given for pain relief, but they are not always effective and can lead to addiction.

Botulinum toxin is a neurotoxin currently used to treat muscle spasms, migraines and excessive sweating. The botulinum protein is made of two chains, a heavy chain that targets it to neuronal cells and a light chain that cleaves synaptic proteins, eventually preventing the release of neurotransmitters. Because neurotransmitter release is linked to pain transmission, botulinum toxin potentially may be used to treat pain; however, the full length toxin affects all neurons (including those needed for involuntary activities like breathing), rather than just those involved in pain processing.
THE INVENTIONUW–Madison researchers have developed a chimeric protein that may be used to treat acute or chronic pain. The protein consists of a peptide ligand that specifically targets neurons involved in pain processing and a botulinum toxin light chain protein that blocks the release of neurotransmitters that cause pain. The therapeutic could be delivered through the spine to result in long-lasting, stable and reversible regulation of pain.
  • The chronic pain market is huge and growing, estimated to be $8-20 billion in 2010.
  • Treating acute or chronic pain
  • Reversible
  • Stable and long-lasting
  • Non-narcotic
  • Specifically targeted to neurons associated with pain processing
STAGE OF DEVELOPMENTSuccessfully tested in mice.
For More Information About the Inventors
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Contact Information
For current licensing status, please contact Andy DeTienne at or 608-960-9857.
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